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consist; exactly agreeing with this sacred word; when no others have made such a full discovery of it.
This I have opened, and proved before; and he is a stranger to the world and to himself that seeth it not: were it not lest weary the reader with length, how fully and plainly could I manifest it.
Sect. 3. III. The certain observation of the universal, spiritual war, which hath been carried on according to the first Gospel, between the woman's and the serpent's seed, doth much confirm me of the truth of the Scriptures.9
Such a contrariety there is, even between Cain and Abel, children of the same father; such an implacable enmity, throughout all the world, in almost all wicked men against godliness itself, and those that sincerely love and follow it; such a hatred in those that are orthodoxly bred, against the true power, use, and practice, of the religion which they themselves profess; such a resolute resistance of all that is seriously good and holy, and tendeth but to the saving of the resisters; that it is but a public, visible acting of all those things which the Scripture speaketh of; and a fulfilling them in all ages and places in the sight of all the world. Of which, having treated largely in my treatise against infidelity of the sin against the Holy Ghost, I refer you thither.
Sect. 4. IV. It much confirmeth me to find that there is no other religion professed in the world, that an impartial, rational man can rest in.
That man is made for another life, the light of nature proveth to all men ; aud some way or other there must be opened to us to attain it. Mahometanism I think not worthy a confutation: Judaism must be much beholden to Christianity for its proofs, and is but the introduction to it, inclusively considered. The heathens, or mere naturalists, are so blind, so idolatrous, so divided into innumerable sects, so lost and bewildered in uncertainties, and show us so little holy fruit of their theology, that I can incline to no more than to take those natural verities which they confess, and which they cast among the rubbish of their fopperies and wickedness, and to wipe them clean, and take them for some part of my religion. Christianity, or nothing, is the way.
Sect. 5. V. It much confirmeth me to observe, that commonly
a Even between the carnal, hypocritical, nominal Christian and the true Christian; as Gal. iv. 29. "As then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now."
the most true and serious Christians are the holiest and most honest, righteous men; and that the worse men are, the greater enemies they are to true Christianity: and then to think how incredible it is that God should lead all the worst men into the truth, and leave the best and most godly in an error.
In small matters, or common secular things, this were no wonder: but in the matter of believing, worshipping, and pleasing God, and saving of souls, it is not credible. As for the belief of a life to come, no men are so far from it as the vilest whoremongers, drunkards, perjured persons, murderers, oppressors, tyrants, thieves, rebels, or if any other name can denote the worst of men and none so much believe a life to come, as the most godly, honest-hearted persons. And can a man that knoweth that there is a God, believe that he will leave all good men in so great an error, and rightly inform and guide all these beasts, or living, walking images of the devil. The same, in a great measure, is true of the friends and enemies of Christianity.
Sect. 6. VI. It hath been a great, convincing argument with me, against both atheism and infidelity, to observe the marvellous providences of God, for divers of his servants, and the strange answer of prayers which I myself, and ordinarily other Christians, have had.
I have been, and am, as backward to ungrounded credulity about wonders as most men, that will not strive against knowledge; but I have been often convinced by great experience, and testimonies which I believed equally with my eye-sight, of such actions of God, as I think would have convinced most, that should know as much of them as I did. But few of them are fit to mention; for some of them so much concern myself, that strangers may be tempted to think that they savour of selfesteem; and some of them, the factions and parties in these times, will by their interest be engaged to distaste: and some of them have been done on persons, whose after, scandalous crimes have made me think it unfit to mention them, lest I should seem to put honour on a scandalous sinner, or seem to dishonour God's works by mentioning such an object of them; and I have much observed, that whatever wonder I ever knew done, in answer to prayer, or attestation of any good, the devil hath, with marvellous subtlety, endeavoured, by some error or scandal of men, to turn it all against Christ, and to his own advantage. But yet God declareth the truth of his promises, by the deliverances of his servants, and the granting of prayers, which are put
up to him in the name of Christ. I will not dispute whether these actions shall be called miracles, or not: it is enough for my purpose, if they be but attesting providences. All church history telleth us of many such heretofore: how great things have been done, and deliverances wrought upon Christians' earnest prayer to God. The success of the thundering legion in the army of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, in Germany, is commonly mentioned you may see it in the 'Apolog.' of Justin Martyr and Tertullian: see more in Pamelius's 'Notes on Tertull.' (n.64.) Cyprian saith to Demetrius, (p. 328,) of the Christians' casting-out of devils, "O si audire velles et videre, quando a nobis adjurantur et torquentur spiritualibus flagris, et verborum tormentis de obsessis corporibus ejiciuntur, quando ejulantes et gementes voce humanâ, et potestate divinâ flagella et verbera sentientes, venturum judicium confitentur. Veni et cognosce vera esse quæ dicimus: et quia sic Deos colere te dicis, vel ipsis quos colis, crede: aut si volueris et tibi credere, de te ipso loquetur, audiente te, qui nunc tuum pectus obsedit. Videbis nos rogari ab eis quos tu rogas, tamen ab eis quostu adoras; videbis sub manu nostrâ stare vinctos, et tremere captivos, quos tu suspicis et veneraris ut Dominos: certe vel sic confundi in istis erroribus tuis poteris, cum conspexeris et audieris Deos tuos, quid sint, interrogatione nostrâ statim prodere," &c.
But it were too tedious to recite all that antiquity telleth us of this kind later times have their testimonies also: Baynam could tell the papists, that burned him, in the midst of his flames," Lo, ye papists, here is a miracle; I feel no more pain in this fire than in a bed of down; it is as sweet to me as a bed of roses.' Bishop Farrar could say, when he went to the fire, "If I stir in the fire believe not my doctrine;" and accordingly remained unmoved: many more you may see in martyrologies and church-history. It was the merciful providence of God to Mrs. Honywood," who, in her passionate self-accusations, when the minister was persuading her of the pardon of her sin, threw the glass which was in her hand up to the wall, saying, "She was as certainly an hypocrite, as that glass would break ;" and it fell to the ground, and remained unbroken. They were convincing providences which God exercised on the leading women of the familistical sect which troubled New England: when one of them, Mrs. Dyer, brought forth a monster that had the parts of man, beast, birds, and fishes; and the other, their prophetess, Mrs. Hutchinson, brought forth about thirty See her story in Fuller's Worthies of England.'
misshapen lumps or births at once; and thereby the land was awakened and delivered from the danger. 8
My own deliverances by prayer, because they were my own, I think not fit here to express; nor many other persons, that were familiar with me, some yet living, and some dead: nor would I mention such small things as corporal deliverances and cures, but only because they are matters of sense, and somewhat unusual; and not as supposing them the great matters which Christians have to look after or expect in answer to their prayers: they are far greater things which prayer brings to all true Christians: the strengh of the Spirit against temptations;
Which Mr. Weld, of New England, hath printed and upon Mr. Stubs's extenuation, in his book for Sir Henry Vane, against me, in letters since he hath fully confirmed. The many miracles mentioned by such credible persons as Augustin (De Civit. Dei) and other learned, holy men, deserve some credit surely. Victor Uticensis telleth of many confessors, whose tongues were cut out by the Arian Vandal Hunnerichus, who spake freely without tongues. and Æneas Gazæus, in a notable treatise for the immortality of the soul, saith the same, and that he saw them himself; and hath more such wonders. Ego novi multa bonorum virorum corpora, quæ etiam phalanges dæmonum, tantopere terrerent, quantopere ipsi vexabant hominem abs se captum atque obsessum; itemque morbos innumeros quibus curandis ars medica non suffi. ceret, ipsa facile curarent, perpurgarent, omninoque auferrent.—Id. ibid. p. 411, B. P. Even Cicero, speaking of some sacrilegious, impious persons, could observe, Qui vero ex his et omnium scelerum principes fuerunt, et præter cæteros in omni religione impii, non solum vita cruciati (vel cum cruciatu, ut Lambinus) atque dedecore, verum etiam sepultura ac justis exequiis caruerunt.-Lib. 2. de Leg. p. 245. And to the objection, that it often falleth out otherwise, and that the best suffer most, he answereth, Non rectè existimamus quæ pœna sit divina: et opinionibus, vulgi rapimur in errorem, nec vera cernimus: morte aut dolore corporis, aut luctu animi, aut offensione judicii, hominum miserias ponderamus : quæ fateor humana esse, et multis bonis viris accidisse sceleris autem pœna tristis, et præter eos eventus qui sequuntur, per se ipsa maxima est. Videmus eos qui nisi odissent patriam, nunquam inimici nobis fuissent, ardentes cum cupiditate, tum metu, tum conscientia; quid agerent modo timentes, vicissim contemnentes religiones. And he concludeth, Duplicem pœnam esse divinam, quod constaret et ex vexandis vivorum animis, et eâ famâ mortuorum, ut eorum exitium et judicio vivorum, et gaudio comprobetur.-Ibid. I desire the learned reader to read the three miracles which Æn. Gazæus saith he saw with his own eyes, in his Theophrast. in Bib. Pat. Gr. To. 2. pp. 414, 415.' The first, of an old man, that raised one from the dead: the second, of a good man, that when he was dying, promised his scholar, that was blind, that within seven days he should have his sight, which accordingly came to pass: the third, of the confessions before mentioned, that by prayer could speak most articulately without tongues : all these he professeth he saw with his own eyes; and the rationality and piety of his writings maketh his testimony the more credible. Lege Palladii Historiam Lausiac, c. 52. de miraculo ab ipso viso. Though I know that as apparitions, so miracles are too often counterfeit, yet all that are recorded by the ancient doctors and historians cannot be so thought, especially when we have seen something like them.
the mortification of those sins which nature, constitution, temperature, custom and interest, would most strongly draw them to; the special assistances of God in duty; the information of the mind, by a light which showeth the evidence of truth in a special clearness; the resolution of doubts; the conquest of passions; the elevation of the soul in divine love and praises; the joy of the Holy Ghost, and comfortable thoughts of the coming of Christ, and our endless blessedness with God in heaven. These are the answers of prayer, which are the fulfilling of the promises of Christ, and which are of greater moment than miracles, of which we have ordinary experience.
Sect. 7. VII. It confirmeth my belief of the Gospel, to observe the connaturality and suitableness which it hath to the best and holiest souls: that by how much the better, in true honesty, and charity, and heavenliness, any man is, by so much the more is the Gospel beloved, pleasant, and suitable to him; as human food is to human nature.
My much converse in the world, with men of all sorts, but most with the persons now described, hath given me opportunity to be fully assured of the truth of this experiment, beyond all doubt. And that which is the best in man, is certainly of God: and therefore that which is suitable and connatural to the best in man, must be of God also.
Sect. 8. VIII. It confirmeth my belief of the Gospel, to find it so very suitable to the world's diseases, necessities, and business; to reconcile them to God, and fill them with love and heavenly-mindedness; which other religions do meddle with so little, and superficially, and ineffectually.
Sect. 9. IX. The matter of the Gospel is so holy and spiritual, and against all sin, and evil spirits, that it is incredible that evil spirits, or very bad men, should be the inventors of it: and yet to forge so many miracles and matters of fact, and call a man God, and to perplex the world with needless, delusory strictnesses, and to father all this on God himself, would have been a villany so transcendent, that none but men extremely bad could do it. Therefore it must needs be the design of heaven, and not of men.
Sect. 10. X. When I deeply consider the evidence of verity in the Gospel, it hath as much to convince me, as I could have chosen or desired.
Sect. 11. I. If I had been put myself to choose by what means God should open to man the things of the unseen world, I could have desired no more than that a messenger might come